By Michael Goldstein
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By LA Weekly
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Interestingly, although Luis had supported Frances’ decision in taking Mando, privately he was sure the child put too much pressure on an already ridiculously burdened household. But since his return, he’s done a 180. “I think it’d be better if Mando stayed with us,” he tells Frances now. “I think he’s happy here.” Yet when Frances tries to talk to the woman about signing a temporary custody agreement, she dances away from the subject, then stops returning Frances’ calls.
Luis continues to revel in home and family life, but he can’t shake the fear that it will soon be yanked away after the trial. “I’m still the guy on the horse with a hanging rope around my neck,” he says. “And I keep wondering when the horse is going to run.”
Then, on August 25, the situation changes again when Luis goes back to court one more time. Although there is still investigation to be done, Overland tells the judge he is ready to go to trial. This is, to some degree, a strategy, because Overland has just learned the prosecution is not ready: Officer Chavez is reportedly on vacation and will be away for a month. Under the law requiring a speedy trial, this means that if Luis and Overland don’t agree to yet another continuance, the prosecution must dismiss the case. The dismissal is only a formality. As soon as Chavez returns in September, the prosecutor will likely refile. “And everything starts all over again from the beginning,” Overland explains to Luis.
Outside the courtroom, Lou Parise tries to talk Overland into going for the continuance, but Overland declines.
And so, at just after 11:30 a.m., Judge Anita Dymant dismisses Luis’ case “in its entirety.”
Despite the fact that it’s probably no more than a temporary reprieve, Luis and Frances are nearly giddy at the words. “So, I can go back to work now?” Luis asks Overland, as the elevator takes everyone to the ground floor.
“Most definitely,” replies the attorney. “Go back to work. Earn some money. Spend time with your family. Live. We’ll start this all over again in October.”
Husband and wife each thank Overland for what must be the zillionth time. Then, looking perceptibly freer, Luis and Frances Aguilar walk out of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Building into the brilliant Southern California sunlight, hand in hand.
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